SCOTLAND – Soil improvements are allowing Caithness and Strathspey livestock farmers to become much more than simply guardians of their sheep and cattle.
Aeration, liming and rush topping are measures that can lift the quality of wetland grazing, producing a landscape suitable for both stock and wading birds.
The measures increase the number of earthworms present, which, according to conservationists running a farm initiative, allow the chicks of ground nesting birds to thrive.
Caithness Wetlands and Wildlife Initiative (CWWI) and the Strathspey Wetlands and Waders Initiative (SWWI) have partnered with SAC Consulting, a division of Scotland’s Rural College to work with farmers and crofters to improve soil condition.
They stress there are mutual benefits to farms and wildlife.
“Simple actions can not only deliver an increased food supply for waders but greatly improve grassland productivity,” said consultant, Iona Cameron.
Up to 60 per cent of wading birds have disappeared from some areas of Scotland, the SAC said.
Dave Jones of RSPB Scotland said that cattle dung is rich in invertebrates and their heavy grazing provides open, tussocky landscape they like to nest in.
TheCattleSite News Desk
Top image via Shutterstock